Interview: Petter Solberg's back in the WRC after six years - RallySport Magazine
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Interview: Petter Solberg’s back in the WRC after six years

Solberg pushes the R5 Polo hard at the pre-event shakedown. Photo: RedBull

Rally Catalunya has been very special with all the old boys, Petter Solberg, Sebastien Loeb and Ken Block coming out to play again.

What brought 43-year old Petter Solberg to make his return into WRC in Spain, scene of his last WRC event in 2012? Was this only nostagia?

PS: The homologation plan for Volkswagen was that this was the first chance to compete with the Polo GTI WRC.

I think its actually a fantastic and perfect opportunity because it is tarmac and gravel and also for me to come back to drive a rally again. I think with Camilli we have a good combination of experience.

The atmosphere here is also very good. There’s a lot of people and their passion for motorsport is incredible. That is what we are living for. It’s always good fun to be here.

MH So far you have had tests on both tarmac and gravel. How do you feel about the car?

PS: Good fun on both, easy to set up and make changes that can suit every driver. Good for both young drivers or old ones to really enjoy.

The purpose of the project is for the customers to be competitive. Competition in WRC2 is very hard and I think it is great when more manufacturers are coming with competitive cars.

Petter Solberg is thrilled to be back in the WRC after six years. Photo: Martin Holmes

Rally Catalunya is going to be an interesting weekend. I will enjoy it and I will have a lot to smile about when I’m driving. I’m sure there will also be a lot of sweat also, but glad to be back even for this one race.

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MH: For you personally, is the attraction of competing here to make up for lost time? You have never won here in WRC.

PS: I think it will be difficult. Six years is a long time to be away and I will have to be a little bit humble with it, but I will do my best. I will not take some risks on rough places – it can be quite rough on the gravel.

The most important thing is to get back in the rhythm, hopefully get some really good stage times and show how the car can be driven.

MH A question which is intriguing everyone. Is your 17-year old son Oliver now faster than you?

PS: We don’t know yet! We will see. You will have to ask Veronica Engan (who has been Oliver’s co-driver now for two years in his Peugeot 208 R2) and who is with me here!

Oliver has been fantastic this year, incredible in rallying and also in the rallycross.

Related news:

Loeb leaves door open for more WRC starts

Martin Holmes was widely considered world rallying's most experienced, and most respected journalist. Martin covered the WRC, ERC and all major rally championships around the world. He passed away in June 2020, aged 80.

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